Skip to main content

Full text of "Year book of the Old setters' association, Johnson county"

See other formats


Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 






AUGUST 22, 1901 

Iowa Citizen Pubi^ishing Company, Printers 




Old Settlers of Johnson 
County, la. 



Unmindful of the dust of Iowa's driest summer, the gathering 
clouds and rumble of distant thunder, the pioneers and their de- 
scendants began to gather at an early hour around the cabins in 
the fair grounds. 

A gentle shower passed, cooling the air, and by 10 o'clock the 
sun shone brightly. The day was as fine as could be desired. 
The attendance was not so large as at some of the past gatherings, 
yet about six hundred met and passed the most enjoyable day of 
all our reunions. 

At noon the tables were spread and an hour was passed in re- 
freshing the inner man and reviving the spirits with Sueppel's 

At 1 o'clock the people gathered at the speakers' stand. The 
invocation was pronounced by Rev. H. H. Fairall and the presi- 
dent, David M. Dixon, proceeded to deliver an address as fol- 


Old Settlers, Visitors, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

I am glad to see so many of you present this afternoon. It 
affords me a great deal of pleasure to have this opportunity of 
bidding you welcome and extending to you a hearty greeting. 

Another year has come and gone since we last met beneath the 


friendly shade of these beautiful trees. The old cabins have stood 
silent sentinels marking the events as the days go by. If they 
could speak they would say that this has been an eventful year, 
one in which they have experienced greater climatic changes, a 
year in which the silent reaper has thinned our ranks more than 
ever before. Let me say here that I believe we should take steps 
to shield our first cabin from the storms of winter and the heat 
of summer and dedicate it to the memory of the first settlers of 
Johnson County. I believe their children and grandchildren 
would appreciate it more than a granite shaft or a marble slab. 
You who are familiar with the early history of Johnson county 
will bear with me while I read a short editorial written over sixty 
years ago by Mr. Hughes, and found in the Iowa Capital Re- 
porter, volume 1, number 2, of that paper: 

''Notwithstanding the extreme inclemency of the weather for 
two or three days preceding Monday last, every member of the 
council save one, Mr. Hall of Van Buren, and all except three of 
the house, Messrs. Hebbard, Weld and Denson, were here in 
readiness to take their seats on the first da}^ of the session. 

' ' His Excellency Governor Chambers and Secretary Stull were 
in town, having arrived from Burlington on the Saturday pre- 
vious. The weather on Friday, on which most of the members 
started from their homes, was excessively disagreeable, a cold 
sleet having fallen during the whole day, accompanied by high 
winds. During the night the rain ceased, but the cold increased 
and with it the wind to a degree of fierceness sufiicient almost to 
blow the hair off of one's head. 

' ' It did make havoc with the hats and cloaks of those who 
breasted the pitiless storm, as we happened to know from woeful 
experience, our companion in the ride from Bloomington (Mus- 
catine) here having been kept pretty busily engaged exercising 
his trotters in pursuit of the fugitive articles, while upon us 
devolved every now and then the duty, 'shivering in the wind,' 
of watching our faithful steed. This occurred in the midst of 
our large prairies, and was a picture on which a painter might 
have exercised his talent to good effect. On Sunday the weather, 
though somewhat more calm, was pretty severe, and we cheer- 
fully bear testimony to the credit due legislators and other public 
functionaries for their perseverance in reaching here, under such 
adverse circumstances. 

"Once here, however, they were in a haven of safety and com- 


fort, and some of them no doubt found things very differently sit- 
uated from what they had anticipated. 

''Taught to believe that they were coming to a place where no 
conveniences would attend them and where they would perhaps 
have to spend the winter in a condition bordering on savage life, 
a widely and totally different state of things presents itself. They 
find themselves in a most thriving town of seven or |eight hund- 
red inhabitants, built upon a site unsurpassed for beauty by any 
we have ever beheld anywhere in the interior. This we declare 
in all sincerity, and in this every individual whose mind is 
unprejudiced on the subject must agreee with us. 

"They find halls prepared for their assemblage, with every con- 
venience and comfort that they could reasonably desire, and^^fitted 
up with a style of neatness and taste highly creditable to^those by 
whom they were arranged. The hands of the ladies of this^city^ 
by the by, are plainly perceptible in this arrangement, and many 
thanks are due them for it. Much credit is due, too, to our pub- 
lic-spirited fellow citizen, Mr. Butler, for his exertions in get- 
ting the building in readiness for the reception of the legislature, 
and he well deserves to be favorably remembered for it. 

"But there are other things found here which |Some probably 
did not expect to find. They find accommodations for boarding 
and lodging much more comfortable than they expected. We 
can speak at any rate for a mess of a dozen or so with whom we 
have the good fortune to be most agreeably ensconced. If there 
be any better living or pleasanter quarters in the territory than 
those of our 'good host of the hill' we have not seen them. They 
find, too, a highly intelligent and order-loving population, with 
places of public worship either erected or in the progress of erec- 
tion, in which we do homage to the Giver of all good. And, 
'last though not least, ' they find fair women spreading over all 
that indescribable charm which virtuous women only are capable 
of producing. With this state of things, who will gainsay that a 
residence at the new capital of our young territory is a matter to 
be desired 

The same paper contains a list of the ofiicers elected for that 
first Iowa City session, besides a full report of all proceedings up 
to Saturday, the day of publication. Henry Felkner was the 
representative from Johnson county, and S. C. Hastings repre- 
sented Johnson and Muscatine counties in the upper house, then 
called "council." 


The following counties were represented: Lee, Van Buren, 
Des Moines, Henry, Louisa, Washington, Muscatine, Johnson, 
Cedar, Jones, Linn, Scott, Clinton, Dubuque, Clayton, Delaware 
and Jackson. 

It is worthy of remark that the seventeen counties have in- 
creased to near one hundred. The cabins that then iormed Iowa 
City, the men and women who then made up the sparse popula- 
tion of the territory, are gone, and today we behold a vast popu- 
lation, hundreds of beautiful cities and millions of acres smiling 
with teeming crops. Let us today honor the memory and strive 
to emulate the example of the pioneers who saw in the distance 
the coming of this proud commonwealth and in hardship and 
privation laid well the foundations of peerless, grand old Iowa as 
a state. 

The report of the necrological committee was read by G. R. 
Irish as follows: 


At reunions such as this which brings us together today the 
thoughts of the pioneers and old settlers turn to the past. They 
look toward things gone by rather than toward those to come; 
their own achievements in the new land, instead of the plans of 
their children, occupy their minds and claim attention in their 
utterances. The view turns back to the past, to what has been 
accomplished, rather than looks forward to new worlds to con- 
quer. The pioneer has wrought a great work, and inclination 
and advice bid him note that he has fulfilled a magnificent des- 
tiny and well earned a period of rest and recreation. Especially 
is this true in this splendid eastern part of Iowa, where less than 
a generation has sufficed to transform the prairie into a garden 
and bring to the early settler not alone the means and opportun- 
ity of a restful old age, but also to see his children provided with 
a competence that a few years ago would have been rated a for- 
tune. In the progress of a superb development, we have in Iowa 
reached that period in which the landholder is the true capitalist; 
where the farm he has tilled and improved yields an assured and 
certain dividend. That this is so is due to the labors of the pio- 
neers, the old settlers who here today celebrate in almost family 
reunion the incidents and events of the past half century, leaving 


to younger and stronger hands the carrying on of the work they 
began in poverty and have brought to its present stage ''with 
toil incredible," to use the words of the poet. 

It is a privilege of old age to be garrulous, yet you will all 
agree with us that no old settler, no pioneer, ever talked too long 
at one of these meetings, and that it has always been with an 
effort the society procured speakers for its annual meetings. 
There is a sacredness and solemnity that gathers in an almost 
intangible and yet understood mist about the men and women 
and incidents of the past that gives to them a quality of reverence 
we hesitate to break in upon. Their names bring up by mere 
mention the tenderest associations and recall years long past 
when the pioneers of this county constituted as it were one fam- 
ily, enduring common hardships, sharing each other's burdens, 
and striving for a common end. 

The absence of loved and familiar laces tells us, without the 
formality of a roll call that there are new-made vacancies in the 
ranks of the old settlers ; that some who a year ago were of our 
number have met with us and exchanged greetings for the last 
time ; that they have entered into the reward of those who are 
faithful to the end. We miss them from the pleasures of this 
reunion, miss them sadly, and yet we rejoice that they have 
wrought a grand work, builded to themselves noble monuments, 
and left a record that shall be an inspiration to us -and to thous- 
ands yet to come. We are proud of the part they bore in the 
making of Iowa, proud of their achievements, proud that their 
names are upon our roll ot membership. 

Time forbids that we should speak at length and as we would 
wish of each who has since our last meeting gone over to the sil- 
ent majority. Some among them filled a large place in public life, 
and some were by long membership in this association and by 
close intimacy especially endeared to us. We will be pardoned 
for departing from the mere necrological list to make mention of 
a few of our deceased members who have been especially identi- 
fied with the history of our society, and whose efforts have in 
more than formal membership been given to perpetuating the 
history of the old settlers of Johnson county. 

Theodore Sutton Parvin was not one of the earliest settlers of 
the county, nor had he for some years past been a resident here. 
Yet he enjoyed the singular distinction of being an "emeritus'* 


member of every pioneer and old settlers' association in Iowa, 
and as a judge of the supreme court is a judge of every district 
court of the state and a justice of the peace in every township, so 
Dr. Parvin was greeted as a member of every organization of this 
kind in Iowa. He was the link that bound the Iowa of today 
to the Iowa of pre- territorial times. He was born in New Jersey 
in 1815, came to Iowa in 1838, to Iowa City in 1860, and died at 
Cedar Rapids on the 28th of June last. Coming to the territory 
in 1838, the succeeding year he visited Johnson county in his 
oflQcial capacity as prosecuting attorney of the first district court 
held in the county, held at the then county seat, a frontier trad- 
ing house, the resort of Indians and trappers, a place now scarce 
to be identified, and perhaps seen by no one now present. There 
was then no suggestion of such a place as Iowa City, little 
thought of the great things that would be wrought by the pio- 
neers and their children. From its organization in 1844 to his 
death he was secretary of the Grand I^odge of Masons of Iowa. 
From 1860 for a decade he was an honored teacher in the State 
University, and until 1885 a resident ot Iowa City. These were 
perhaps the happiest years of his life ; loved at home, honored 
abroad, the weight of sorrow that comes from separation and 
death not yet laid upon his heart and home, he was surrounded 
by all that can bless and make man happy. Crowned with hon- 
ors, in ripe old age yet spared from its feebleness, his mind clear 
and bright, he lay down gently and peacefully to the last long 
rest; and as he came to this city in his youth, at the beginning 
of his life work, and again in the strength of his manhood, so at 
the close he was brought here for life's last repose, amid the 
scenes he loved so dearly. You who are present know how close 
this old settlers' association was to his heart; how often he 
attended its meetings and with what pleasure you heard him 
speak. He was one of its founders and held every ofiice within 
its gift, but in no relation did he so much rejoice as in the 
opportunity it gave him to meet and greet his old friends. 

Colonel Edward W. Lucas, who came to Iowa in 1838, with 
his father, the first territorial governor, was one of the organizers 
and prominent members of this society and a familiar figure at 
its annual meetings. In all that pertained to the building up 
of the city and county he took a leading position and through a 
long life maintained a high place in the regard of his fellow cit- 


izens. He was born in Ohio in 1825, came to Iowa in 1839, and 
died at his home in this city on the 16th of December last in the 
seventy-sixth year of his age. He was one of the incorporators 
of the Johnson County Agricultural Society, and from its organi- 
zation in 1853 to the last fair took an active interest in its main- 
tenance. In his public life he was lieutenant colonel of the 14th 
Iowa Infantry, postmaster of this city and twice represented the 
county in the legislature. Conspicuous in war, a leader among 
our people in peace, he worthily filled a large place in life, and 
leaves a worthy record of the son of Iowa's first governor. 

One whose great pleasure it was to meet with you, one of the first 
settlers of this county, has since the last meeting passed from this 
circle of friends she loved so well and where she had lived so 
long. Mrs. Sarah A. Myers was born in New York in 1825, and 
came to Iowa about 1841, her husband being one of the first, if 
not the first to make claim to public land in this county. Her 
death occurred at Salt I^ake City in December last, she having 
gone there to spend the winter with her daughter. Mrs. Myers 
was probably known to more of the pioneers than any other 
woman in this membership, and no one more appreciated than 
she the friendships here formed. Her loving sympathy brought 
light to many a darkened home, and her noble charitable work 
will long enshrine her memory among those who were her asso- 
ciates in the Silent Ministry and with those who received its ten- 
derly bestowed gifts. 

N. H. Brainerd was not a pioneer of this county, but he was a 
type of the strong men who made Iowa. Born in New Hamp- 
shire in 1818, he came to this city in 1856, and in 1861 was 
a.ppointed by Governor Kirkwood as his military secretary. 
Returning here at the close of his service, he purchased the 
Iowa City Republican and conducted that newspaper with 
marked success for many years. He was postmaster for four 
years, and for several terms a member of the] city council. In 
each of these places he demonstrated the qualities that made him 
a strong and popular citizen and an excellent public ofiicer. He 
was lor some -years a member of this association and it received 
his active support and sympathy. 

Mrs. Bryan Dennis was born in Ohio in 1825 and came with 


her parents to Iowa City in 1840. Her death took place Novem- 
ber 29. Married in 1844, Mr. Dennis selected the land that for 
more than half a century was to be their home, on what was then 
the extremest frontier. Here indeed she lived the life and under- 
went the trials of the pioneers, the privations and dangers that 
belong to isolation in a new country, and out of its hardships built 
up a noble and Christian womanhood that is honored and cher- 
ished in this society. In a more distinctive sense than any of 
those we have named she was a pioneer, and it was her privi- 
lege to see the log cabin grow to the stately mansion, and the 
flower-spangled prairie become the granary of the West, and 
know that she had borne a large part in the great work. 

We have selected these as typical members of the association, 
whose death is sorrowfully recorded. Of the many who have 
passed from our roster we may but set down regretfully name and 
date, saying that they have well filled out their years and hon- 
ored their home and state with good lives. 

The necrological list is as follows, the date following the name 
being that of coming to this county : 


August 26— D. V. Conklin, Iowa City, 1838, aged 75 years. 
September 1— August Leuz, Jr., born in Iowa City, 1863. 
September 10— J. H. Hanlon, of Fremont township. 
September 16— Vincent Gross, Liberty township, 1848. 
September 19— M. H. Carson, born in this county, 1848. 
September 19— James Larkin, aged 83 years, Iowa City. 
September 20— Edward Maule, Iowa City. 
September 21 — Benjamin Horner, 85 years of age, Iowa City. 
September 26— Mrs. James S. Mahana, Iowa City. 
September 30— Isaac Eaton, Iowa City, 1854, 83 years of age. 

October 3— Mrs. Margaret Harrison, born in the county, 1850. 
October 13— Patrick Corbett, 1861, of Hardin township. 
October 22— Mrs. Henry Miller, 1854, Iowa City. 
October 25— Geo. L. Flannagan, born in Iowa City, 1871. 

November 3— William E. Cupp, Liberty township, 1855. 
November 12— E. Warner, Iowa City, 1856. 

November 17— Mrs. William Figg, Pleasant Valley township, 1854. 

November 17— Owen McCabe, Oxford township. 

November 19— Mrs. Margaret Debellem, Iowa City. 

November 23— James Herring, Iowa City 1870. 

November 23— Mrs. Christian Grabien, of Madison township. 


December 15— Mrs. Ruth Choate, lov/a City, 1855, aged 84 years. 
December 17 — Mrs. Apolonia Kriz, Iowa City, aged 83 years. 
December 19— Mrs. Clara Knglert, Iowa City, 1842, aged 75 years. 
December 22 — August I^euz, 1857, Iowa City, aged 76 years. 
December 22— Mrs. Sydney Smith, Iowa City, aged 72 years. 
December 22 — Adam Dobry, Iowa City, aged 71 years. 
December 25 — Gerhard Steinbruch, of Big Grove township. 
December 27 — lyambert Klingler, 1855, aged 78 years. 
December 30— James B. Edmonds, 1850, aged 70 years, died at 
Washington, D. C. 


January 3 — W. F. Buck, Union township, 1844, aged 75 years. 
January 5 — W. W. Smith, Iowa City, 1856, aged 78 years. 
January 8 — Abner Boone, Washington township, 1846, aged 74 years. 
January 11 — A. K. Westenhaver, 1860, died at Oskaloosa, aged 68 

January 12 — Patrick Donovan, Graham township, 1853, aged 74 years. 
January 13— Mrs. J. M. Files, Madison township, 1859. 
January 13— John Adelsheim, Iowa City, 1856, aged 80 years. 
January 19— Mrs. J. H. Murphy, aged 86 years, died at Davenport. 
January 23— Mrs. Mary Alt, North Liberty, aged 73 years. 
January 31 — Mrs. Mary Frizzell, Iowa City. 

February 1— Joel Linkhart of Oxford township. 
February 1 — Catherine Haley, died at Guthrie Center, aged 83 years. 
February 4— John L,ouis, born in Iowa City, 1858. 
February 9 — Dennis Hogan, Iowa City, 1853, aged 86 years. 
February 14 — Mrs. Sager, Washington township, aged 89 years. 
February 14— Mrs. O. G. Babcock, Madison township, 1839, aged 
70 years. 

February 14 — Christian Grabien, Madison township, 1855, aged 70 

February 15— Mrs. K. W. Switzer, Iowa City, 1857, aged 89 years. 
February 24 — Mrs. Mary Jones, Union township, aged 82 years. 
February 27 — Mrs. Catherine Burnes, Union township, aged 70 

March 2— S. Iv. Byington, born in the county, 1862. 
March 6— Mrs. W. B. Cupp, Liberty township, 1855, aged 73 years. 
March 12— Mrs. C. C. Hull, Iowa City. 
March 21 — Mrs. Johanna Mungovan, aged 78 years. 
March 25— Vincent Grissell, Iowa City, 1860, aged 70 years. 
March 28— Mrs. Frederipa Griesmayer, Jowa City, 1867, aged 76 

April 2— A. B. Cree, Iowa City, 18S5, aged 70 years. 

April 2— Mrs. Lavina Tomlin, Iowa City, 1861, aged 59 years. 

April 4— Thomas Hanlon, Iowa City, 1867, aged 69 years. 


April 7 — Mrs. Jemima McCleary, Iowa City, 1850, agec' 74 years. 

April 11— William J. Hotz, born in Iowa City, 1858. 

April 14 — Solomon C. Grimm, born in Iowa City, 1861. 

April 2Z— Jacob Dull, 1854, died at Atlantic, Iowa, aged 82 years. 

April 24— Mrs. Mary Kisor, 1855, aged 73 years. 

April 30 — Michael Beecher, Graham township, 1854, aged 84 years. 

May 7— Rev. Edward N. Barrett, Iowa City, 1888, aged 58 years. 
May 19— J. P. Sanxay, born in Iowa Cit^-, 1846. 
May 21— Mrs. James Hardy, Penn township, 1856, aged 74 years. 
May 22— J. W. Pauba, of Solon. 

May 22— Mrs. Amanda T. Zimmerman, Ivone Tree, 1869, aged 94 

May 27 — Robert Smith, Jefferson township, aged 76 years. 

May 29— James Welsh, Iowa City, 1866, aged 68 years. 

May 30— C. F. Close, born in Iowa City, 1867, died in California. 

June 5 — Ralph Price, born in Iowa City, 1876, died at Cedar Rapids. 
June 10— Samuel Sharpless, Iowa City, 1876, aged 79 years. 
June 14 — Mrs. Kmely A. Folsom, Iowa City, 1842, aged 75 years. 
June 15— Mrs. H. A. Strub, born in Iowa City, 1854. 

July 8 — Robert S. Finkbine, 1850, died at Des Moines, aged 73 years. 
July 11 — George W. Schell, 1839, died at Lawrence, Kansas, aged 

July 23— Mrs. Mary Davidson, Jefferson township, aged 75 years. 
July 26 — George Adams, Big Grove township, aged 65 years. 
July 28— Mrs. Elizabeth Aicher, Iowa City, aged 72 years. 
July 29 — George Summerhays, Clear Creek township, aged 85 years. 
July 30— Mrs. Mary Sullivan, Newport township. 

August 1 — Mrs. Mary Goodrich, Iowa City, 1860, aged 77 years. 
August 4 — George Fry, Washington township, 1849, aged 92 years. 
August 4 — Mrs. Barbara Miller, Washington township, 1848, aged 

August 6— Mrs. C. Hormel, died at West Liberty, aged 63 years. 
August 9 — W. H. Hillborn, Oxford township, 1854, aged 71 years. 
August 15 — Samuel A. Shellady, born in Johnson county, 1854. 


85 years. 

86 years. 

Cauley, Miss Anna 
Connell, Mrs. John 
Dille, Louis B. 80 
Henyon, Mrs. Bradford, 
Hemlick, John 
Hindman, Rev. John 
I jams, Wm. E. 

MuUin, Mrs. Bernard 
O'Malia, John 
Nixon, Mrs. E. J. 
Stevens, Mrs. Amanda 
Stonebraker, Mrs. R. J. 
Taylor, George L. 
Tierney, Mrs. William 

Wilson, David J. 

John Springkr, 
John K. Jaynk, 
Horace: Sanders. 




Ci,ouD Chikf, OKI.A., Sept. 1, 1901. 
Hon. M. Cavanagh, Iowa City, Iowa. 

Dear Sir and Friend: — In the Iowa State Press of August 28, 
which I have just finished reading, is an account of the thirty- 
fifth annual reunion of the Old Settlers of Johnson county, Iowa, 
one of which I might be classed if I was there, and it called to 
mind the kind invitation that I received from you some time ago 
asking me to your meeting, or to write you if I could not attend. 

In the press of my duties here I see that I neglected to either 
go or write, and I will now write you a few lines to let you know 
that I received your kind invitation, and at the same time tell 
you, and other inquiring friends, that I am yet in the land of the 
living, as is also my mother, who lives not over a hundred yards 
from me, on a homestead of her own taking, and my son and 
daughter, that came to Oklahoma with me, we are all living near 
each other at present, but my son Arthur was fortunate enough 
to draw a right to enter a tract of land in the late opening, and I 
expect he will go from us before long. 

We are enjoying reasonably good health at present and have 
no reason to complain of Oklahoma, although we have a very 
short corn crop this year. Our wheat crop was good, and our 
cotton is good, which latter we are now just beginning to harvest, 
and we think the price will be good also. 

I have seen this country grow from government lands to deeded 
farms, as I did the most of Johnson county, Iowa. I think Iowa 
the better of the two, but Oklahoma, on account of its milder 
climate, suits me the better now. 

I keep in touch with my old stamping ground by taking the 
Press, and an occasional letter from one or another old friend, 
but I hardly ever meet with any people from Johnson county. 

I have a married daughter living near Oxford, and a married 
son living in lyos Angeles, Cal., who, with myself, wife and two 
children here, are all natives of Johnson county. 

I would have been glad to have met with you, and may in the 
future, but until then I will be yours respectfully. 

Hknry N. Bkrry. 


Gold Crekk, Elko County, Nevada, Aug. 6, 1901. 
To the Chaiinnan of the Committee on Invitations to Annual Meet- 
ing of Old Settlers of fohnson County, Iowa. 
Sir: — I am in due receipt of your very kind invitation to be 
present at your annual gathering on the 22nd instant. When 
your letter reached me I hoped to be able to meet with you in 
person on the day named, but business matters of much import- 
ance to others I now know will deprive me of that pleasure. 

I am inclined to ask, where are the Old Settlers of Johnson 
county? Alas, many of them have long since paid the debt of 
nature and are sleeping with their fathers; a tew yet remain to 
gladden our hearts as we meet them on these annual visits, and 
a very few are scattered throughout the various states of the 
Union. How many gathered here today can recall Mr. Phelps, 
the Indian trader, whose trading house stood on the east bank of 
the Iowa river just below where the town of Napoleon, our first 
county seat, was located ? Mr. Phelps told me that he so early 
as 1826 *'cordelled" fiatboats from St. Louis to this trading house, 
which was built that year. Can many of you recall Wheaton 
Chase, also an Indian trader, whose trading post stood on the 
bank of Byington creek down in Pleasant Valley? Then there 
was Allen Stroud, whose cabin stood a little beyond and to the 
left of Market street in Iowa City. He was a hunter and trapper. 
On the hill lately known as the Gower place lived, contemporan- 
eously with Stroud, William Brown. I might go on and name 
many more of the old settlers of the later thirties and early 
forties, and only half a dozen, it may be, of those present today 
could recall them. Our fathers and mothers, who braved storms, 
trackless prairies, the wilderness and its hostile inhabitants that 
they might build peaceful homes upon the flower garden of John- 
son county's prairies, and within her beautiful groves have left 
us, a handful of their sons and daughters, with a few of their old 
associates, meet here together and speak their praises and extol 
their courage, their honor and industry. Shall we stop at this 
and when death shall have claimed the last of us let the memory 
ot their courageous deeds, their honorable achievements and their 
works drop into the great ocean of oblivion, their very name to 
be lost with us? I hope not. Can we not raise a sufficient fund 
by subscription with which to erect a simple monument to their 
memory, on the sides of which to inscribe their names, and erect 
it in some public place, that the generations to come may see to 


whom they owe the beginning of the prosperity to be seen about 
us today and which is to go on increasing as time rolls on ? 
Soldiers whose friendships are cemented by blood^of battlefields 
raise towering monuments to their fallen comrades. Memories 
are kept alive through centuries by monuments, |humble or im- 
posing, of those thought to deserve such notice for deeds of brav- 
ery, kindness or philanthropy. Did not these attributes crown 
the old settlers of Johnson county And shall we not in a spirit 
of love and admiration raise a shaft, however plain, to commem- 
orate their works and qualities? I feel that^if we fail to do this 
small work in honor of our parents, their friends and neighbors, 
old settlers of Johnson county, then should we be considered 

We cannot expect the many strangers to do this work, for they 
knew not the courageous, industrious delvers of Johnson county's 
virgin soil. As I write the names of many of the very first to 
settle here, when all about was a wilderness, come into my mind, 
among them the first to die on I believe the ground now occu- 
pied by Iowa City, was Bradish, Mr. Foster, who gave us the 
first threshing machine, and many others. 

I most sincerely hope, my friends, that you will take action 
upon this matter at once. Am sorry indeed that I cannot be 
with you in person today and enjoy communion with you and 
help you honor the memory of the Old Settlers of Johnson 
county, Iowa. I am very truly yours, 

Chas. W. Irish. 

SKATTI.K, Wash., July 11, 1901. 

My Dear Mr. Cavanagh: 

Am in receipt of your kind invitation under date of June 26 to 
meet with the Old Settlers of Johnson county at their annual 
picnic August 22, and thank you very much therefor. 

I regret exceedingly that it will be impossible for me to be 
present, as I rather expect to take a trip to China and Japan some 
time during the summer. 

Hoping that the occasion may be as pleasant as those in the 
past have been and Vv^ith kind greetings to old acquaintances, I 
remain, Yours respectfully, 

R. R. SpKnckr. 


AI.BANY, Ork., Aug. 10, 1901. 

M. Cava7iagh^ Iowa City. 

My Dear Sir: — Yours of the 26th of June extending the'annual 
invitation to attend the Old Settlers' picnic is received. I regret 
that I cannot possibly be with you to enjoy the festivities of that 
occasion, as I had purposed doing, owing as usual to the press- 
ure of business and financial shortage. The day set for your gala 
day, the 22nd of August, is the anniversary of the writer, whose 
birthday dates back to 1825, and yet after three-quarters of a 
century of active life he is hale and hearty; in fact has better 
health than at any previous time — an illustration of the Darwin- 
ian theory of the "survival of the fittest." My present excellent 
health I attribute to this genial, healthy climate, the mean tem- 
perature of which is about 48, and we have no cold weather at 
all. Our harvest is good this season, in fact we never have a faiU 
ure of crops. 

Should there be anyone desirous of learning anything of this 
county write me and I will give them any information I can. 
Regarding your gathering, I doubt not but that you will have a 
good time, and I hereby extend a "shake" with all the old 
friends. I will not promise again to attend at some future meet- 
ing, but shall try to do so nevertheless, for there is no place I had 
rather visit than Iowa City and vicinity. Go on with your meet- 
ings, friends. It certainly is a source of much good cheer and 
enjoj^ment to all who participate. 

"Each and all should try to catch 

Bach pleasure ere it flies. 
And from life's treadmill try to snatch 

Enjoyment ere it dies. 
The happy smiles our spirits cheer 

Like sunshine in the rain; 
No past or future claims our tears, 

No memories bring us pain." 

M11.KS K. lyKwis. 

Washington, August 16th, 1901. 
Matthew Cavanagh, Esq., of Committee on Invitation Old Settlers 
Reimion, Iowa City, Iowa. 

Dear Sir: — I regret that business demands will not permit my 

responding in person to your kind invitation to be present on the 
occasion ot the annual reunion of -the Old Settlers of Johnson 

When I write these lines of regret I am reminded of how fitting 
and enjoyable it would be for me to visit the scenes of my child- 
hood, and to mingle with the friends and associates of my grand- 
parents, father and mother. 

My grandfather, the Rev. Dr. W. W. Woods, was an Iowa 
pioneer having ventured upon its wild prairies from Indiana, at 
a period when its prairies were wild and furnished forage for the 
pony of the red man. Not only did he expound the Presbyterian 
faith and rear a family of nine musical souls, who later on com- 
prised the choir in the old stone church in Iowa Cit^^ but he was 
a graduate in medicine and compounded for those who were phy- 
sically distressed. He held a diploma as a lawyer, and his 
opinions were often rendered without tJie retainer which is usual 

Dr. Woods lived on Clinton street at one time and Woods' ad- 
dition is still a cherished spot in the memory of the descendents. 
The old grave yard marks the resting place of many of my kin, 
and the farm over the Iowa river and my old playground at the 
foot of the Court House hill v^^ould serve to remind me of boyhood 
were I there. 

My father, when a young man, went to Iowa City, and was a 
reporter of debates in the State IvCgislatiire. After he had married 
Martha Woods he conducted the Iowa Reporter, afterward the 
State Press with the Harrison bo57S. I^ater on, when I cam.e on 
the stage of life, I found among other pleasures one which I have 
since enjo3^ed, that of baiting a hook. It was Captain Irish, the 
father of John and Charley, who took me along to put on the bait 
and take off the fish he would catch. 

Of the Woods family forty-three grandchildren were born, and 
I am one of the oldest of the tribe. My friends and relatives 
still live in the State, and we will all continue to give her the 
warm place in our hearts which should there be cherished. 

Extend my regrets to those around you today, and as the great 
life's battle progresses may the ranks of the Johnson county army 
sustain its members. That womanhood, manhood, honest devo- 
tion to good which characterizes an lowan anywhere surely pre- 
vails superlatively in Johnson county daughters and sons. 

Wishing you much joy and continued prosperity, believe me 
to be. Yours sincerely, 

Richard SyIvVKSK^e^r. 


QuiMBY, Iowa, July 18, 1901. 
M. M. Cava7iagh, Iowa City, Iowa. 

My Dear Sir: — Your kind invitation of June 26 to attend the 
Old Settlers' picnic at Iowa City on August 22 has been duly 

Providence permitting, I expect to be present with you on that 
date. I am, with regards, Cordially yours, 

Edmund Shkpard. 

San F^lANCISCO, August 12th, 1901. 
Hon. M. Cavanagh, Chairman Committee. 

Dear Sir: — I had promised myself and family the pleasure of 
attending the old settlers' annual meeting this year, but we find 
ourselves denied that indulgence. I hope to be able to attend 
the next meeting, and greet the few who remain of the first gen- 
eration of pioneers and take by the hand the children and grand- 
children whose best endowment is their inheritance of the cour- 
age, independence and thrift of their frontier ancestry. 

May your reunion be full of pleasure, health be in all your 
homes, and time touch kindly all the old settlers. 

Very truly, 

John P. Irish. 

JKFFKRSON, lA., AugUSt 18, 1901. 
Ho7i. M. Cavanagh, Iowa City. 

My Dear Sir: — I received your favor, inviting me to attend 
your annual meeting of Old Settlers of Johnson county, which 
convenes on the 20th inst., and I have deferred writing until the 
last moment with an earnest hope that I might be able to attend. 
On account of sickness in my family I shall not be able to meet 
with you. 

It is a great disappointment to me but such is life. My early 
life was spent within the bounds of old Johnson. There I married 
my wife, and my children were born, and among the Old Settlers 
I had many friends, most of them are removed from her borders, 
but many still remain, and I should esteem it a great privilege 
to meet them once more. 

God bless you all in your reunion and may you live to enjoy 


many recurrences ol the same. If I should live another year I 
hope to be able to attend your next reunion. 

With kind regards to yourself and all the Old Settlers that may 
still remember me. I am as ever, 

Your old friend, 

D. W. Hkndkrson, 

Jefferson, Iowa. 

SuTHKRIyAND, lA., AugUSt 18, 1901. 

Gentlemen of the Committee on Invitation to the Annual Picnic of 
the Old Settlers Association of fohnson County, Iowa: 
We received the invitation to your annual picnic with great 
pleasure. We had hoped that this year we might meet the old 
friends face to face; but find, that me must still defer that pleas- 
ure. We wish to thank you, with full hearts, for so kindly 
remembering us, when sending out invitations to those who for- 
merly lived in dear old Iowa City. 

These invitations always open the flood-gates of memory — and 
we live the old days over again. Again my husband tells me 
the story of their coming to Iowa. How his father Dr. W. W. 
Woods first came from Indiana, on horseback, in company with 
Judge Coleman, and Cornelius Smock; how he purchased an out- 
block at the southeast corner of the city as then platted ; that he 
returned to Indiana and came back bringing his family with him ; 
that he also brought two four-horse wagons, and one two-horse 
wagon and a carryall in which the family rode, one or two extra 
horses, and his pony which he sometimes rode and helped drive 
the cattle and sheep. 

He recalls an incident of the first Sabbath day after reaching 
Iowa City; his mother had made him ready for church, and he 
was sitting in the front door of the one room house on Clinton 
Street which his lather had rented for a month, until the cabin 
on the out-block was completed. Around the corner there came 
two wagons loaded with stone for the new capitol building that 
was to be. Kach wagon was drawn by six or eight oxen, 
and their drivers were cracking their long whips, and making 
the air sing with expletives, as they called they oxen by 
their various names, already half frightened with the whips 
and the profanity he was wholly so, when his father grasped 


him, slammed the door and deposited him, not in the gent- 
lest manner, on the other side of the room saying — "My son 
I cannot allow you to listen to such vile language." His mem- 
ory fails to recall any other incident of the day, but he recalls the 
fact that those two barefooted, red-headed, freckle-faced boys be- 
come fine citizens and one of them., prominent in affairs of state. 
Dr. Woods atterwards bought the lot on Clinton street and built 
the house which was the scene of so much hospitality in the 
forties and early fifties. The house was burned the third year 
of the war. Hoping that your day will be one of the great pleas- 
ures to you all, and that your ranks may be unbroken. 

We are sincerily yours, 

Mr. and Mrs. Husk Woods. 
Per R. M. M. 

Washington, D. C, Aug. 12, 1901. 
Mr- James T. Robinson, Chairman Coimnitiee, 
Iowa City, Iowa. 
Dear Sir: — I entertained the hope that my official duties and 
business engagements would permit the acceptance of your kind 
invitation to be present at the annual reunion of the Old Settlers 
of Johnson county, but I find at this late day that I shall be 
deprived of the pleasure. To suspend activities, to escape busi- 
ness rivalries and oppressive care, to dissipate sordid dreams, to 
abandon for one day the counter and the workshop, the home 
and the farm, with their perplexing cares and anxieties, are some 
of the allurements offered in the acceptance of an invitation to 
these festivities. The noble men and women who annually meet 
here to exchange greetings and renew friendships fostered under 
conditions rarely, if ever, encountered in older communities, 
cherish the memories of the past. In their eager pursuit of 
wealth and social and intellectual advancement they are not for- 
getful of family traditions — vSome of them painted in sombre colors 
and harrowing in their details — of privations and hardships en- 
dured by the pioneer men and women who first' peopled these 
beautiful prairies. Often depressed with cares, despondent under 
grievous burdens, and sometimes driven to the verge of despair 
in their anxiety for loved ones, they continued the unequal strug- 
gle with Christian fortitude and an abiding faith that time would 


ameliorate their condition. The perils to which they were 
exposed, the discomforts and hardships to which they were con- 
(Stantly subjected, served only to incite them to renewed exertions. 
They labored unceasingly to remove every obstacle that impeded 
' their progress, and resolutely faced conditions that would have 
paralyzed the energies oi a people less determined and resource- 
|,:ful; and never was courage and industry more liberally rewarded 
I and never did a people more quickly emerge from distressing and 
almost appalling environments. The virgin soil, even with the 
ruae implements then employed, was not rebellious, but yielded 
so bountifully as to tax the ingenuity of the husbandman to gar- 
ner the golden harvests. For many years the local markets 
.absorbed only a small percentage of the products of the farm, 
and transportation facilities were so limited, or traffic rates so 
.exhorbitant, as to render impracticable the transfer of the sur- 
.plus products to the centers of population, where good prices pre- 
. vailed. While this unfortunate condition of affairs continued for 
many years, it was only one of the many adverse circumstances 
■with which these noble people had to contend. Doubtless the 
future often looked unpromising, but they never despaired of 
success in the great work in which they were engaged — that of 
.establishing homes for themselves and their families and build- 
ing up a commonwealth in territory from which the savage had 
sullenly receded. In every household was witnessed exhibitions 
•of self-denial and rigid economy was enjoined by the inexorable 
,law of necessity. 

Humble were the dwellings in which their families were dom- 
iciled, and rude the structures in which their children received 
their first impressions of our public school system. And yet from 
these rude structures, divested of architectural adornment and 
lacking in comforts and equipments now considered indispens- 
able, there issued splendid specimens of American manhood and 
womanhood. In them was reflected the intellectual and moral 
standard of an ideal frontier settlement. They went forth fully 
equipped for any emergency that was likely to arise in their 
struggles for recognition and advancement in their chosen voca- 
tions, and were prepared to discharge intelligently and patriotically 
every duty that devolved upon them as citizens of this great 
republic. When released from the influence of the home and the 
irestraints of the school they met the greater responsibilities that 
confronted them in new fields ot endeavor. In their ranks the 


judiciary found some of its brightest ornaments; the professions 
to which they were welcomed recognized their skill and attain- 
ments ; legislative assemblies bowed to their genius, yielded to 
their persuasive powers and were charmed with their orator}^ ; a 
grateful people accorded them praise for gallantry in the wild 
tempest of civil war, and in every avenue of business, where 
competition was fiercest, they forged to the front with resistless 
force and energy. 

From the list of the sturdy pioneers who first built their habit- 
ations on these beautiful prairies the historian or biographer would 
find much to admire, still more to commend and little to provoke 
caustic words of criticism. They unflinchingly laced terrorizing 
elements and the treacherous savage. With undaunted courage 
and unwearied efforts they applied themselves to the task of 
bridging streams, establishing highways, bringing under subjec- 
tion waterways that had never been vexed or disturbed by arti fi- 
cial barriers, erecting school houses, surrounding themselves with 
comforts and elevating the intellectual and moral standard of the 
community. They transformed a wilderness into a garden of 
wealth and beauty. These broad prairies, the scene of their early 
struggles, are now bedecked with beautiful homes, and thrifty 
villages and a prosperous city, noted as the seat of a great insti- 
tution of learning, sit enthroned within our borders. 

We recall with pride the names of many who were prominent 
in our early history and who measurably contributed by their 
talents, public spirit and industry in producing the magical results 
that this generation has witnessed. We remember with grateful 
hearts the Kirk woods, Clarks, Downeys, Culbertsons, Millers, 
Sanders', Irishs, Walkers, Shavers, Frys, Hunters, Hess', How- 
ells, Cavanaghs, McCrorys, lyUcas', lyathrops. Ten Kicks, Fol- 
soms, Strubles, Westcotts, Porters, Pattersons, Parvins, Swishers, 
Bonhams, Pauls, Dennis', Finkbines, Closes, Coombs', and 
scores of others whose names will readily be recalled. Some of 
these men were of distinguished families, many of them cultured 
in mind and gifted in speech, and all of them of inflexible busi- 
ness integrity. 

In this connection I desire to impress upon the members of this 
association the importance of preservng in permanent form inci- 
dents connected with our early history. Some of those associated 
with the stirring events of the early period of our county are still 
living. They can describe these events with accuracy of detail 


and invest their narratives with an interest that will command 
attentive readers in all our homes. It will not be necessary for 
them to make excursions into the fields of romance for material 
to construct a story of thrilling interest. A plain recital of details 
of events in our local history with which they are familiar, with- 
out any attempt at literary embellishment, would be read by 
thousands ot our people with as much interest as the most entranc- 
ing works of fiction. 

Johnson Brigham, in a scholarly address recently delivered 
before an Iowa City audience, is reported to have deplored the 
fact that Iowa has developed no writer who has ventured into 
''two rich fields w^hich belong to the writers of the Middle West, 
either by right of inheritance or by reason of title acquired 
through long residence and close touch of sympathy — the heroic 
period of '61 to '65, and the equally heroic period prior to the 
Civil War;" but the brilliant lecturer inspired us with hope in 
the prediction that "ambitious writers will yet seek to infuse 
into this material the breath of lite, and picture for all coming 
time the pioneer homes of these Middle Western states and the 
brave, resultful life they led." 

Hoping that this suggestion will meet with approval and be 
productive of results, I remain Very truly yours, 

J. H. C. WII.SON. 

San Jos^, Cai,., Aug. 14, 1901. 

Old Setilers' Association of Johnson County. 

Dear Friends: — When I received your kind invitation a few 
days ago to attend the reunion of the Old Settlers of Johnson 
county August 22, 1901, I look back forty-six years. On the 
15th of April, 1855, I jumped off tfie stage in front of the Park 
House, now the home of the Sisters of Mercy. I then was a 
young carpenter; did not know one person in the state; but with 
plenty of Dutch and Yankee pluck I soon found plenty of work to 
do. The second day after my arrival I went to work for one 
Wasson and G. W. Schell. I then put in counter and shelves in 
a building about 150 feet east of the Kimball meat market. One 
month after my arrival my parents and younger brother arrived 
from Ohio. Soon thereafter we bought about 400 acres of land 
two and one-half miles northeast of Solon of Charles Pratt, now a 


citizen of Iowa City. Solon then had six or eight settlers, one 
store, one blacksmith, a half finished hotel. Palmer House, and 
postofl5ce. So far as I know now there are only three old settlers 
left between Solon and Cedar River that were there then ; these 
are Anton Staley, Joseph Caldwell and H. S. Sutliff. 

You are all invited to call at 513 South Sixth street, San Jose, 
Cal. Wishing you all a good time and to meet many times yet. 

Yours truly, 
Andrew BksJRmake^r. 

Manitowoc, Wis. , Aug. 18, 1901. 
James T. Robinson, Esq., Iowa City, Iowa. 

Dear Sir: — Your kind invitation to me to attend the Old Set- 
tlers' reunion was received some time ago, and I delayed answer- 
ing it until I would hear of the reunion ot the 22nd regiment 
Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and have just received the notice from 
Secretary Switzer placing the date September 18-19, which I 
regret to say prevents me meeting with the Old Settlers, as the 
dates are so far apart. Sorry to say it would be impossible to go so 
soon and wait for the regiment's reunion, which I will attend the 
18th and 19th of September. 

Say to the Old Settlers that it would be a great pleasure to me 
to meet them, while at the same time I feel sorry that quite a 
number of them who were very dear friends of mine have crossed 
the river; but you and I are nearing that point from which there 
is no escape. 

Hoping you all may have a happy meeting is my sincere 

Harvky Graham. 

QuiMBY, Iowa, Sept. 10th, 1901. 
G. R. Irish, Secretary Old Settlers Association, 
Johnson County, Iowa. 
I was much pleased to meet with the pioneers of Johnson county 
this year. It carries me back to times and scenes long past. In 
August, 1848, I took Greeley's advice and left Mansfield, O. , for the 
west. I went to Chicago, thence by canal to LaSalle, and at Peoria 
took stage for Burlington and Keokuk. In the latter place lived 



a young friend of mine named Curtis, who had been writing me 
to come and go into the grocery business with him. I found his 
place of business to be about 10x14 ; and stock consisting of several 
bottles of whisky. I did not like the appearance of things there, 
so I started for Iowa City. I went to Bloomington by boat, and 
there took stage for Iowa City, where I arrived at Z P. M. and 
stopped at the North American Hotel, kept by I. N. Sanders. 
Soon after my arrival a young man, S. J. Hess, stepped up to me 
and said A stranger here?" "Yes." ''We are going: to have a 
dance at Uncle Joe Stover's and would be pleased to have you 
come." I replied, "That is just to my hand. " We danced till 
about 2 P. M. at that dance and pleasant company settled me in 
Iowa City. Soon after this the young people formed a club, 
George Yewell was chief, he handled the fiddle and called the 
dance. We had the city and were welcome at any place where 
there was room. Mrs. Dr. Ballard's and B.C. lyyons' were favorite 
places. In the spring of '49 the steamer Harold made four trips 
to Iowa City. The young people had a dance on the boat each 
trip. In the winter of '49 and '50 about twelve couple took a 
sleigh ride to Muscatine and had a jolly time for two nights. In 
the spring of 1850, S. J. Hess and I joined a company for Cali- 
fornia. Our little two-horse wagon had on its side a box for curry 
combs, etc. George Yewell painted on it "I^ittle Breeches" 
which name we were known by. At Salt I^ake we joined outfits 
with Bryan Dennis, Jas. McConnell and John I^arcomb. We 
were in business for two years at Bidwells Bar. In the fall of 
1852 I returned to Ohio, and in the spring of 1854 came back to 
Iowa City to engage in the hardware business. Iowa City and 
its old settlers will always be remembered by me with much 

Kdmund Shijpard. 


In 1839 there came to Johnson county a young unmarried man 
from the state of Pennsylvania. He made a claim and afterwards 
entered land in Big Grove township, and with Timothy B. Clark 
and Paul B. Anders subsequently made a dedication of the orig- 
inal townsite of Solon and gave it the classic name which it bears 
of the great Athenian lawgiver. He was the first postmaster at 


Solon, and served as such for a number of years. This man was 
Hamilton H. Kerr, who departed this life some four years since, 
and it is felt that something should be said here in honor of his 
memory. Mr. Kerr was a man of most sterling worth and un- 
blemished character, always aligning himself on the side of the 
right as he understood it against the wrong; a good neighbor, a 
fast friend, just m all his dealings with his fellow men, a public- 
spirited citizen and withal so modest and unassuming, so want- 
ing in self-assertion, that people who were not his immediate 
neighbors knew but little of his intrinsic worth. He lived for 
many years at the home he first established, and then sold out 
and bought a small farm near Iowa Cit}^ across the Iowa river, 
on vv^hich he resided several years, until his advanced age and 
that of his wife made it advisable that they should give up the 
active operations of the farm, after which they made their home 
with their daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Breese 
of Union township. This continued to be their home until Mr. 
Kerr's death in 1897, and it is still Mrs. Kerr's home. 

Mr. Kerr was very social in his tastes and highly prized the 
society of his old friends and neighbors, and in the later years of 
his life made many visits to their homes, where he was alwa5^s 
received with the greatest pleasure and cordiality. In short, 
suffice it to say that his life was a model of domestic, social and 
civic virtue, and if any man among the pioneers in letter and 
very spirit kept every one of the command of the decalogue and 
observed in all its divine beauty the precept of the Golden Rule, 
that man was Hamilton H. Kerr. 

His early life here had all the trials and vicissitudes incident 
to those pioneer days, but he was called upon to go through a 
trial and endure a privation that did not necessarily belong to 
pioneer life. 

I said at the outset that when he came here Mr. Kerr was an 
unmarried man ; now, while this was true, it is also true that he 
came to select a place in which to establish a home which a fair 
daughter of the old Keystone state had promised to share with 
him. She, his affianced wife, he left behind him until he should 
go to the faraway trans-Mississippi country, the land of beautiful 
Iowa, which was then firing the imagination of the young men 
and maidens of that day in the older states, as the place of all 
others in which to seek and build elysian homes for themselves 
and their ofispring. 


When Mr. Kerr came it was his purpose to return within a 
year and ask the young lady who had promised to become his 
wife to fulfill her promise. He brought with him a sum of money, 
the savings of his modest earnings for some years. This money 
would enable him to provide the home which he was looking for- 
ward to with so much anticipated happiness, and to pay his 
expenses back to Pennsylvania and the return with the wedded 
woman of his heart. But, alas, he had formed the acquaintance 
of an honest ( ?) blacksmith of the neighboring county of Cedar, 
to whom he loaned his money as an accommodation for a few 
days; but the few days grew into many days, and the days into 
months and months into years, and his money was still loaned — 
a permanent investment — and so the years of this painful waiting 
dragged their weary length along, until the celebrated historical 
waiting of Jacob for Rachel was threatened with eclipse. 

As it was out of the question for Mr. Kerr to get the money he 
had loaned he was compelled to wait the slow process of earning 
enough to assist him in carrying out the plans so dear to his 
heart. But earning money then in Iowa was a slow process at 
best in any vocation, and Mr. Kerr being an artisan patronized 
only by those who could afford tailor-made apparel, his patrons 
were not many and his earnings were necessarily slow. 

But at last in 1847, eight long years after he came, Mr. Kerr 
succeeded in getting his affairs in shape, and as all things are 
said to have an end, so this long waiting, and he hied himself 
away to the betrothed of his heart, and as he had withstood the 
charms and blandishments of the pioneer belles and beauties of 
Iowa in that early time, and she had kept her plighted troth, 
they were married; and who shall say that the long enforced sep- 
aration of this devoted pair, the "hope deferred that maketh the 
heart sick, ' ' has not added zest and bliss to the almost fifty years 
of their wedded life which followed, for it was a most happy 
union. Not that they had no sorrow, for that is not possible in 
the lives of sentient beings like ourselves. For out of a family of 
six children born of this union four sweetly sleep beside their 
father, beneath the grassy sod in the little cemetery at Solon. It 
has been said that **it is better to have loved and lost than never 
to have loved, ' ' and is it not better that children be born, though 
they die in infancy, than that the parents should always have 
been childless? For is not the memory of these departed little 
ones and the hope of meeting them in the great hereafter a source 
of sublimated joy and happiness? 


I should say that Mrs. Kerr (or rather Miss Brooks, for this was 
her maiden name) beguiled the tedium of the eight slow-passing-; 
years of Mr. Kerr's absence in Iowa before his return to her by 
teaching school, and that among her pupils who attended her 
school for a number of terms in her young girlhood was the 
mother of the Honorable A. B. Cummins, and who shall deter-^ 
mine how much this teaching of his mother by Mrs. Kerr has 
influenced the aspirations and ambitions which have led him to 
the conspicuous place he occupies in the eyes of the people of 
Iowa and made him the candidate of the great Republican party- 
for the highest office in their gift? > 

In jutsice to Mrs. Kerr I wish to say that she did not know 
that there was to be anything said here today in relation to her 
late husband or herself, otherwise I have no doubt her native ' 
modesty and disposition to shrink from public observation would- 
have caused her to withhold her consent. I beg her pardon for 
taking such a liberty, my only justification being that the valu- 
able lesson of their lives should have more publicity. 

M. Cavanagh. 



PASs:eD Away in Fi^orida. 

The Michigan Democrat and Sturgis Times of Sturgis, Mich.,, 
dated April 18, contains the following life sketch of a pioneer , 
who had much to do with J^blazing the path of civilization and 
progress in^this state. 

William Sturgis was born April 14, 1817, at Mount Pleasant, ^ 
province of Upper Canada, died at New Smyrna, Fla., April 6, . 
1901, aged 83 years, 11 months and 22 days. 

The eldest son of that sturdy pioneer, the late Judge John Stur-, 
gis, the first settler of Sturgis prairie, in honor of whom the vil-; 
lage, now city, was named, he too has been a pioneer throughout, 
a long and eventful life. When less than a year old his parents, 
moved to Brownstown, in the then territory of Michigan, at the 
head of I^ake Erie, being carried across the Detroit river on the^ 
ice in his mother's arms. 


When eleven years of age he accompanied his parents on their 
pioneer journey from Brownstown to this vicinity with ox teams 
and helped to build their home, the first cabin upon Sturgis 
prairie. The following seven years were devoted to assisting his 
father in pioneer work developing the resources of the home- 
stead. When eighteen years of age he struck out for himself, 
crossed the Mississippi, located and secured a section of land that 
subsequently was included in the site of Iowa City and helped to 
secure the location of the territorial capital of Iowa there. 

Not content with farming, he pushed up into the wilderness 
and located the townsite now city of Cedar Falls and developed 
the water power, disposing of his Iowa City property for the pur- 
pose of building his dam and mill. He also developed the water 
power and had a mill where the city of Waterloo now stands. 
He subsequently moved to St. Paul, where he purchased several 
tracts of land now covered by the city. 

The spirit of the pioneer impelled him to push on into the 
great timber tract of Minnesota, and he built a dam and sawmill 
and located the townsite of the present city of Little Falls, and 
during his residence there was representative in the territorial 
legislature of Minnesota. 

While living here and in the interest of securing the location 
of a government road through that way, he made a trip on foot 
in midwinter with a half-breed Indian for a companion and a 
compass tor guide, from I^ittle Falls to the head of I^ake Super- 
ior, were the city of Duluth now stands, subsisting the latter part 
of the journey on a few partridges that he was able to kill and 
sleeping nights rolled in their blankets in the deep snow. A 
heavy snowstorm came on and in the intense cold they nearly 
perished before reaching their destination. He also returned on 
foot to St. Paul. 

Associating with him Messrs. Fergus and Tuttle, an extensive 
lumbering and mercantile business was conducted and a thriving 
village built up. Desiring to branch out and secure more power 
for manufacturing and the location of other industries, they built 
a dam across the Mississippi river costing $50,000. The finan- 
cial panic of 1857 followed, business was paralyzed, the company 
was unable to meet its obligations and failed. 

Still undaunted, Mr. Sturgis pushed on still further into the 
wilderness and with nothing but his hands and brain for capital 
started a mill at Little Elk and was again on the road to prosper- 


ity. He had a fine business started and his winter*s logging in 
the boom when the high waters swept away his dam and took 
his logs down into the Mississippi. Undismayed, he went to St. 
Paul and without other security than his indomitable will and 
persevering spirit secured money with which to rebuild his dam 
cut logs and again put the business in operation. 

The gold discoveries in Calitornia were attracting the attention 
of pioneers in all parts of the country and in 1862 he fitted out an 
ox team, left the mill for his wife to manage and joined a cara- 
van that struck out for the golden state over a new trail that had 
for its guide-board only the setting sun. Reaching the divide in 
the Rockies in what is now Montana he stopped in Beaver Head 
valley in the midst of a rich grazing country and surrounded by 
rich mineral prospects near where Dillon is now located. He 
established a stage station at Beaver Head canyon, built a stage 
road that greatly shortened the route from Salt I^ake City to the 
northern part of the state and located a fine ranch property nearby 
that is watered by a large spring that bubbles out of the bench 
plateau above and furnishes a fine stream of water for stock and 
irrigation. It is now known as lyOvell's Ranch and is the finest 
location in the valley. 

There being no sawmills in the country to meet the demands of 
the developing civilization, he undertook to establish one and 
secured his first saw and some mill irons from an Indian mission 
several hundred miles to the north and started the first mill in 
the country at Bannock. He afterward started another mill at 
Argenta, and had two in operation at one time, together with 
his ranch and stage station. 

After having been in the mountains five 3'-ears he sent for his 
family, which he had left at I^ittle Elk, where Mrs. Sturgis had 
managed the mill during his absence, and they went to him by 
the way of St. I<ouis, where they took passage on a steamboat oq 
the Missouri river. The trip to Fort Benton required three 
months on the boat, and from there they journeyed 300 miles in 
a wagon which he had sent for them. In company with four 
others he located and developed the now famous Hecla silver 
mine near Glendale, that has produced over two million dollars 
in bullion and aided largely in the development of the resources 
in the vicinity of the present city of Dillon and that part of the 

The high altitude of the mountains finally affected his health 


and in 1873 he disposed of his several properties and returned 
with his family to his boyhood home on the Sturgis prairie. 

He was subsequently engaged in the sheep business in Kansas 
and the real estate business at Socorro, N. M. It was his ambi- 
tion to improve all property that came in his control and to ad- 
vance every business proposition which appealed to him as prac- 
tical and worthy of support. And in furtherance of his ambition 
has been upon the advance guard of civilization nearly all his 
life, leading the way to the best opportunities for the improve- 
ment of the natural resources of the country. For several winters 
he has sought relief from the cold in the temperate climate of 
Florida. His bodily infirmities increased with advancing years 
and his spirit was released from the body at his Southern home. 

During his long and active life he was progressive in all things 
and helped to move the race forward in civilization and develop- 
ment. In his religious views, as in material things, he was a 
pioneer, firmly believing in spirit life beyond the grave and spirit 
communion after death. 

Mr. Sturgis was twice married, his first wife being Miss Dor- 
othy Kidder, whom he married at Iowa City, and to them were 
born three children, Jennette, now Mrs. S. W. Turner of Minne- 
apolis ; Jane, now Mrs. John M. Kelley, and John K. Sturgis, 
now of Salt Lake City, Utah. Mrs. Sturgis died at Little Falls, 
Minn., and he subsequently married Miss Rosanna Steel at Iowa 
City, Iowa, April 12, 1852, and to their union seven children 
were born; Mrs. Ann Trask, Amos and Arthur Jay, deceased, 
the survivors being Mrs. Kate Poindexter, Dillon, Mont. ; Mrs. 
Nellie Kvarts, Grand Rapids, Mich. ; Mrs. J. S. Flanders and 
Will R., of Sturgis. Mrs. Sturgis died May 21, 1898. 

Of the original family of Judge Sturgis and wife and five child- 
ren who landed on Sturgis prairie in the spring of 1827 but two 
remain, John and George, who reside here. Of the brothers and 
sisters who were born here the survivors are Thomas and Hen- 
riettta, who reside here, Mrs. Hannah Miller of Cedar Falls, 
Iowa, and David Sturgis of Healdsburg, CaL 

The remains of Mr. Sturgis were received from the South 
Thursday evening and the funeral services held at his homestead 
on West Chicago street Friday afternoon, Rev, Dr, Denslow oflS- 
ciating, with burial in the family lot in Oak Lawn cemetery. 



The other day when Dr. E. F. Clapp was moving his office he 
indulged in a little rummaging through some old papers that have 
accumulated in the past, and among other things he found a 
letter written by A. P. Stule on April 12, 185S. It is written on 
a plain sheet of cap paper in a very legible hand and is well pre- 
served. We herewith print it verbatim : 

Iowa City, April 12, 1855. 

Mr. G. T. Augustine. 

Dear Sir: — I take up my pen to inform you that I am well and 
hope that these few lines may find you the same. We arrived 
here on Sunday, safe. I did not get time to go out by grand- 
father's, as I got word to come right to the city. George, it is 

one of the d est countries vou ever see. It is nothing but a 

field of grass. I am on the road from Fort Des Moines to New- 
ton. I start for there this morning. Tell Matilda that she had 
better make up her mind to stay where she is, for I do not think 
she will like the country. I do not for my part, although a man 
can save all his earnings here, for there is no way to spend it. I 
have bought a lot in the city for $200 and have been offered $50 
for my bargain. It is very healthy here at present. There is 
some fever and ague, but we are used to that. Give my respects 
to all inquiring friends. Yours truly, 

A. P. STUI.K. 

p. S. — Direct to me in care Western Stage Co., Iowa City, la. 


Mr. and Mrs. John Sueppel, Sr., unostentatiously celebrated the 
forty-second anniversary of their marriage yesterday. 

There were no demonstrations and no formal observance of the 
happy event, but the "bride and groom" received many congrat- 
ulations from the warm friends who recalled the fact that the vet- 
eran grocer and his estimable wife had been^pronounced one Sep- 
tember 12, 1859. 

The bride was then Miss Catherine Rohret, daughter of the 
late Wolfgang Rohret. Her home was at Old Man's Creek, and 
the young groom, though not an impersonator of Leander, who 
swam the Hellespont for his loved one, or Lochinvar, who bore 


away his bride on the fleet steed, Mr. Sueppel, in claiming his 
bride, called to mind both the ancient and the more modern gal- 

To bring Miss Rohret to Iowa City, where Rev. Father Ed- 
monds might pronounce the words that made the couple husband 
and wife, it was necessary ior the prospective groom to ford the 
Iowa river, and of course the ever ready equine friend of man 
played a part in that journey to the west side. The lower river 
bridge was then building, and the abutments were going into 
place. The contractor was a former sheriff of Johnson county — 
Marshal Scott Wilson's father, by the way. Thus the young man 
found it was incumbent upon him to drive through the rolling 
waters of the Iowa, and he accomplished this feat with no hesita- 

He brought back his sweetheart, the priest was summoned and 
the young woman, now long a noble wife and mother, became 
Mrs. Sueppel. 

''And may their shadow never grow less" 

The following is 

Adams, J. B. 
Adams, A. F. 
Adams, J. M. 
Adams, P. A. 
Adams, J. L. 
Alderman, P. A. 
Burge, J. M. 
Babitt, Mrs. Joseph 
Boarts, David 
Boarts, Miss Ella 
Boarts, Mrs. Charles 
Bradley, Mrs. Abner 
Bradley, Smith 
Butler, J. W. and wife. 
Butler, M. V. and wife. 
Borland, G. T. 
Brown, Alonzo 
Balluf, B A. 
Beuter, A. W. 
Buchanan, W. H. 
Cox, Mrs. C. B. 
Cavanaugh, M. 
Coldren, J. N. 

1 imperfect list of tl 

Custer, Barl 
Cannon, Sr., W. D. 
Corlett, J. K. 
Cropley, Sarah P. 
Curtis, Calvin 
Cox, Thomas B. and 

Clark, Mrs. John H. 
Dixon, D. M. 
Douglass, Larimar 
Devault, Strawder 
Dunkle, Wm. 
Dennis, Bryan 
Dalton, Byron 
Bllson, Mrs. John 
Brnest, William and 

Bmery, A. H. 
Fry, S. P. 
Fairall, S. H. 
Francis, Chas. F. 
Fairchild, T. 
Francis, Miss Anna 

,e present. 

Foster, W. B. C. 
Fry, John 
Graham, Thos. 
Gill, Adam 
Gherke, Henry 
Greulich, John 
Hill, Zion 
Hart, J. W. 
Hevern, R. 
Hunter, ly. 
Hastings, Henry 
Heath, J. R. 
Howell, R. P. 
Hemstead, F. W. 
Holton, O. M. 
Hotz, Mrs. Barbara 
Hughes, J. P. 
Hill, O. C. 
Hess, S. J. 
Hemphill, J. K. 
Hanke, Wm. 
Hitchcock, George 
Hamilton, H. 


Howell, J. M. 
Irish, Mrs. C. W. 
Irish, Mrs. G. R. 
Irish, G. R. 
Jayne, John B. 
Jones, George 
Kessler, M. 

Kiricpatrick, Mrs.M.G. 
Koontz, G. W. 
Keen, R. A. 
Kramer, Jacob 
Kohl, Frank 
Lucas, Chas A. 
Lindsley, F. D. 
Locey, J. F. 
Lyon, Levi 
Miles, William 
Moore, C. G. 
Miller, Phillip 
Morford, J. W. 
Moore, Bruce 
Moore, Mrs. Inez G. 
Metzger, J. J. and wife. 
Miller, J. M. 
Miller, John 
Miller, Mary L. 
McKray, Jr. J. R. and 

McKray, Sr. J. R. 

and wife. 
McGruder, George 
McCallister, John 

McCallister^ James 
McChesney, R. A. 
Nelson, Geo. 
Neuzil, Frank 
Owen, Benj. 
Plum, J. 
Pratt, Wm. B. 
Pratt, Chas. 
Plum, J. Iv. 
Pratt, A. W. 
Robinson, J. T. 
Ressler, J. J. 
Ressler, Mrs. J. J. 
Remley, Milton 
Rittenmeyer, F. X. 
Rittenmeyer, Mrs. 

Schneider, A. J. 
Sutliff. H. S. 
Seeman, Z. 

Seydell, M. A. and wife. 
Schwimley, Rev. A. 
Switzer, J. B. 
TenEick, Mrs. Bd. G. 
TenEiek, Anslem and 

Toms, Hiram 
Trotteh, Truman 
Thompson, Mrs. Chas. 
Thompson, Miss Sibbie 
Thompson, Bzra 
Unrath, John 
VonStein, J. P. 

Richardson, A. and wileWeaver, Peter 
Robertson, Mrs. Harris Weber, J. S. 
Robertson, Miss Julia Wieneke, H. J. 
Robinson, Charles E 
Sanders, Horace 

Struble, J. T. 
Sweet, Wm. 
Stackman, Frank 
Stover, J. Y. 
Shepperd, J. F. 
Startsman, O. 
Schell, J. W. 
Stratton, Mrs. Frank 

Westcott, Emory 
Walker, James 
Walker, H. W. 
Walker, Henry, Sr. 
Whitacre, E. P. 
Williams, O. R. 
Wilson, J. S. 
Wilson, Sarah 
Wilson^ Mrs. Edna B. 
Wilson, Miss Easteleva 

Springer, Mrs. Charles Wilson, Miss Anna 
Stewart, Mrs. Mary 
Stewart, Miss Joanna D. 


Of the many present there were a score or more whose lives 
reach far back into the past century. The names and ages of 
several real old settlers are here given. 
James McKray, Sr., 84. 
Jessie K. Strawbridge, 82. 
Philip Miller, 87. 
Mrs. David J. Wilson, 89, 8 

months, 11 days. 
Mrs. Benjamin Graham, 83. 
F. X. Rittenmeyer, 81. 
Bryan Dennis, 83. 
James T. Robinson, 79. 


Mrs. James McKray, 80. 
Fredrick W. Hemsted, 87. 
Peter Weaver, 84. 
Mrs. M. G. Kirkpatrick, 
Mrs. Isaac Bowen, 77. 
Strawder Devault, 83. 
Milton Seydell, 77. 
J. F. Shepherd, 81. 
Mrs. Peter Dalton, 79. 
Y. Stover, 78. 




The first boy and girl born in Iowa City were on the grounds, 
Miss Mary Hannah TenEick and William Dunkel, their infan- 
tile cry was mingled with the hoarse whoop of the Indian as he 
disappeared behind the western hills. Time has touched these 
pioneer babies with gentle hand. 


The following ofl&cers were elected for the ensuing year, all by 
acclamation : 

President — P. 
Vice-President — S. D. Fry. 
Treasurer — Hknry J. WiknkkK. 
Secretary — G. R. Irish. 



All persons who are non-residents of Johnson county, who were 
residents of Iowa at the time of the adoption of the first State 
Constitution for the State of Iowa are eligible to membership. 
All persons hereafter that have resided twenty years in Iowa and 
are residents of Johnson county, may become members by apply- 
ing to the executive committee. Every member shall sign the 
constitution and pay to the Treasurer fifty cents and thereafter 
twenty-five cents annually. 

The Old Settlers Association of Johnson county was organized 
February 22, 1866. 

President — David Switzkr. 

First Vice President — F. M. Irish. 

Second Vice President — Robert Wai^kbr. 

Treasurer — Pktkr Roberts. 

Secretary — S11.AS FosTKR. 

S AMUKiy H. McCrory "I 

T. S. Parvin > Committee to Draft Constitution. 

E. W. lyUCAS J 

It is the purpose of the executive committee to arrange the 
proceedings of the association prior to 1898 and procure their 
publication uniform with those since that date. All members 
will take notice and lend a hand in aid of this arrangement and 
by so doing help to preserve in permanent form the interesting 
records of what will soon be the dim past. 

Many years ago the old men of the association gathered the 
material and erected a pair of cabins as reminders of the past. 
They were an ornament to the landscape and a credit to the men 
who built them. Time has removed very many of the men who, 
bent with age, but with stout hearts and willing hands, built these 
monuments of the good old days of pioneer times. Time has also 
made its mark upon the work of those old men and it is imper- 
atively demanded that the cabins be put in repair and the grove 
about them be replenished. Talk and promised effort will not do 
the work. Action, prompt, good natured effort by each and all 
of us is what is required. No great draft upon the pocket is 
needed. The annual dues from each and all will be ample. 


G. R. Irish.